Mother Earth Living

A Sociable, Passive Solar Home and Kitchen

Designed around a large, people-friendly kitchen area, this passive solar home in Asheville, North Carolina, really shines.

South-facing floor-to-ceiling living room windows bring daylight deep into the house and blur the distinction between outside and in. Flowers planted at the base of the windows can be enjoyed from the comfort of indoors.
Gil Stose
The outside entranceway stone wall extends into the living room and becomes part of the fireplace setting for the wood-burning stove. The chimney flue rises up through Mary Ann’s upstairs office and provides additional warmth to her space.
Gil Stose
The kitchen counter extension serves as a desk or as a small table for a quick meal. The rack above the sink lets dishes dry naturally and provides handy access.
Gil Stose
The bathroom cabinetry is made from recycled-oak barn siding. A salvaged granite piece and 1920s tiles add a touch of refinement. Towel racks created from cherry branches bring the outdoors inside in a whimsical fashion.
Gil Stose
The kitchen door leads to an outdoor patio that extends the dining and social area.
Gil Stose
Leftover cutoffs from the rafter tails were utilized as diagonals for the stair steps. A river birch branch was selected for the handrail because the diameter of the branch stays relatively the same throughout its length. A cherry tree that had to be cut down on the property was put to use as the stair spindles.
Gil Stose
The home’s stacked, pyramidal shape and careful window placement keep it cool without air conditioning.
Gil Stose
Two bedroom walls of expansive glass showcase the woodlands, allowing the Larsons to awaken to the sights of nature around them. The southern yellow pine ceiling joists create a canopy over the bed and closet and allow air to circulate.
Gil Stose
Mary Ann, Haley, Chris, and pooch Bunky stand in front of the exterior entranceway wall that extends into the living room. The wall is built of locally quarried stone.
Gil Stose
The Larsons’ “sociable kitchen” incorporates a sofa and a small table—an extension of the countertop—for maximum hangout potential. This allows comfortable distance for conversation, yet keeps guests out of the busy cook’s way.
Gil Stose


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